Often it’s former smokers who become the most vocal anti-smoking advocates. Does it work that way with diet and exercise? If you felt “addicted” to donuts or sugary sodas, can you transfer that to an affection for fruits and green tea? Can a lifelong couch potato develop a craving to work out?
Numerous books and studies have highlighted the significance of habit. Following a routine allows us to live on auto-pilot, which simplifies our lives. Some observers believe a strong attachment to bad health habits can be the flip side of an equally powerful commitment to good health habits. But to flip that coin from the dark side to the light side, you have to really want to.
Conventional wisdom says it takes three weeks for new habits to stick. A publication released by the National Institutes of Health lists four steps to making change happen:
- Contemplation. “I’m thinking about it.” Your belief system is in place—you truly believe that you can improve your wellbeing if you develop new habits—but you’re not quite ready to start yet. Perhaps you are not sure how you will overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of success.
- Preparation. “I have made up my mind.” Maybe you’ve set goals or you’ve blocked out time in your schedule. You’re serious!
- Action. “I have started to make changes.” You’re eating better, you’ve added physical activity and your body is adjusting to this new behavior. Maybe you’ve had to “troubleshoot” some obstacles.
- Maintenance. “I have a new routine.” You feel that these changes are now your habits. You may have slipped up, but you’ve found your way back and you’re resourceful in sticking to your new routine even when life throws you curves.
On a light note, Women’s Health Magazine lists 10 new habits you might find yourself “addicted” to once you’re living a more health-conscious life. We’ve tweaked them a bit:
- Talking like a fitness instructor. You’re telling clients, “Tap it back” or, “That was just the warm-up!” No wonder your clients look at you funny!
- Hydrating. How did you ever get by without H2O? These days there’s always a water bottle at your station.
- Rising early. Now you sleep during the darkness so you can wake up with the sun and fit in a walk or cycling class before hitting the salon. You’re hooked on the energy it gives you for the day.
- Trying new foods. You’d heard of kale and arugula before, but you had no idea where they kept them in the supermarket. Now you’re a regular at the raw veggie cooler.
- Feeling the “good soreness.” You love it when your arms and legs let you know that you had a great workout the previous day.
- Sprinkling dry shampoo. You can honestly tell your clients how great this retail product is, because it’s saved you so many times when you had to be somewhere after a gym workout.
- Posting your meals. You can’t stop yourself from proudly showing your Instagram pals the amazing salmon and grilled asparagus dinner you just cooked.
- Tracking steps. Our Healthy Hairdresser Challenge for March has you and your pedometer counting to 10,000 steps every day! If you haven’t signed up, click here!
- Blending the veggies. Fruits and proteins, too—anything you can eat can be put through your new best friend, the blender.
- Humming workout music. You don’t even mind the earworm, because it makes you want to dance.
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